Crisis Public Relations
August 18, 2015
Be honest. Be first. Stay until it’s over.
It really is this simple. Tell your audience what happened. Tell them why it happened. Tell them you have fixed it or you will fix it. Tell them when the fix occurred or will occur.
Whatever the mistake, admit it. Own it. Your audience will find your honesty refreshing. They will judge in great measure by the speed with which your answers come.
Get on message. Stay on message. Before you “tell” anyone. Figure it out. But, be quick about it. Once you have it figured out get everyone on board. Every audience-facing member of your team should know the script. And, it shouldn’t be a script at all. Trust your people enough to tell them the truth. Trust them to tell the truth in their own words. If they can’t be trusted to tell the truth, get new people. At the very least get new people in front of the camera or the audience.
It’s not just the face team, those people who are audience facing that should be involved. To be sure they should be first. But, it is equally important to get every member of the organization on board with the truth of what has happened. In true crisis, your internal audience is likely as burdened by the unknown and fear as your audience. Often, more so.
Get your mouthpieces in line. All your broadcast channels, advertising, social media, public relations, spokespersons, every tool in your box, the time is now to pull it. Shout loud. Speak only the truth from the outset until the moment the crisis is over. And, we mean truly over. Stay the course. Continue to be honest. Stay on message. Update as fast as updates are available.